LOWER GWYNEDD >> Plymouth Whitemarsh running back Christopher Pierce has become accustomed to uprooting, but it appears as though he feels at home on the football field.
The senior running back transferred into the program in the middle of last season and has blossomed as a mainstay in the Colonials’ high-octane offense.
In Plymouth Whitemarsh’s 57-7 defeat over Wissahickon on Friday night, Pierce carried the ball just four times, but accumulated 36 yards and a touchdown. He showed off his athleticism with a seemingly effortless catch on a swing-pass that drifted over the defender’s shoulder. The workload is deceiving. With the game in hand, the Colonials pulled most of their starters at halftime.
“It’s pretty good when you can come into a program and feel welcomed,” Pierce said. “Coach (Dan) Chang and the team really welcomed me in. I felt like I was part of the family.”
Pierce was playing football in Maryland before arriving at Plymouth Whitemarsh. For most, transferring to a new state and new football program can prove lonely and challenging. For Pierce, it has never been a journey he has had to make alone. His brother, Christian, plays wide receiver for the Colonials and is a playmaker himself. Against the Trojans, Christian caught two passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. He also returned a kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown.
“It’s pretty fun (playing with Christian),” Christopher Pierce said. “When you get to play with somebody who’s been with you through it all, it’s a lot of fun.”
Colonials head coach Dan Chang made some minor tweaks to the offense coming into this season. He incorporated a quicker tempo and a greater variety of personnel groupings and formations. The Pierce brothers are crucial pieces of the puzzle.
“(Christopher and Christian) are great kids,” Chang said. “They’re big, strong, fast, athletic, but most importantly they’re great kids and great teammates. So, having them on the field on both sides of the ball has been great for us.”
Chang’s offense is centered around senior quarterback Larry McLaughlin. It features a bevy of option plays and McLaughlin has no shortage of weapons, not the least of which being his own pair of legs. McLaughlin ran for two touchdowns against Wissahickon, one from 18 yards out and one from 44.
“I think it’s not so much the tweaks to the offense as much as it is the kids and the work they put in over the summer,” Chang said, “The offense is what it is. It’s X’s and O’s, but the dedication and the work are why we are seeing success.”
In what was both teams’ first Suburban One League American Conference matchup of the season, Plymouth Whitemarsh improved to 4-0 and Wissahickon fell to 0-4.
It has been a disappointing season thus far for Wissahickon, a program that had aspirations of finishing with a .500 record for the first time since 2013. It suffered another blow with the news of junior starting quarterback Nick Santo most likely being out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury.
For Trojans head coach Bruce Fleming, he has no choice but to think big picture.
“It’s a big setback for (Santo),” Fleming said. “He’s devastated, and I’m devastated for him. There’s an opportunity for him to get it fixed and come back strong and ready for next season in his senior year.”
His replacement will be sophomore Aidan DeFeo, who has already benefited from some time under center as a varsity quarterback. He floated a 51-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Gilliard, Jr. against Plymouth Whitemarsh.
“I saw growth tonight (from DeFeo),” Fleming said. “As the game progressed, he started to really relax and see exactly what was going on in front of him. He had a great week of practice preparing for this game, so I think it’s a good sign of his growth as the season moves forward.”
Plymouth Whitemarsh 57, Wissahickon 7
Plymouth Whitemarsh 21 21 7 8 — 57
Wissahickon 0 0 0 7 — 7
PW: Drenin 1-run (PAT unsuccessful)
PW: McLaughlin 18-run (2-point conversation successful)
PW: Christian Pierce 56-catch (PAT successful)
PW: Christopher Pierce 3-run (2-point conversion unsuccessful)
PW: Drenin 33-run (PAT successful)
PW: McLaughlin 44-run (PAT successful)
PW: Christian Pierce 82-kickoff return (PAT successful)
Wiss: Gilliard, Jr. 51-catch (PAT successful)
PW: Taormina 44-run (2-point successful)
Passing: PW: McLaughlin 5-7, 123 yards, 1 TD. Wiss: DeFeo 11-21, 152 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.
Rushing: PW: Christopher Pierce 4 carries, 36 yards, 1 TD; Dresnin 7 carries, 61 yards, 2 TDs; McLaughlin 8 carries, 99 yards, 2 TDs; Paciello 2 carries, 30 yards; Kern 2 carries, 5 yards; Felgoise 3 carries, 7 yards; Taormina 3 carries, 52 yards, 1 TD. Wiss: Clark 4 carries, 38 yards; Lehman 5 carries, 2 yards; Smalls 3 carries, 16 yards.
Receiving: PW: Paciello 1 catch, 44 yards; Christopher Pierce 2 catches, 13 yards; Christian Pierce 2 catches, 66 yards, 1 TD. Wiss: Intrieri 5 catches, 46 yards; Clark 2 catches, 17 yards; Dougherty 2 catches, 18 yards; Schreiner 1 catch, 20 yards; Gilliard, Jr. 1 catch, 51 yards, 1 TD.
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